How A Slice of the PPP Made My Slice of The Pie Pizzeria Whole Again
Pizza, it is one of the most beloved foods universally. From a quick slice at lunch to a cozy dinner option for a night in or a delightful sit-down meal – pizza brings people together and is one of the ultimate comfort foods. For Randy Borton, owner of My Slice Of The Pie Pizzeria in Phoenix, his love for pizza went beyond a meal. Having worked in the restaurant industry since he was 16 years old, Randy knew the business’s ins and outs and quickly knew it was his calling.
From busser to waiter, Randy worked his way through the ranks and eventually obtained a managerial position with a local taco restaurant. During his time there, his passion for the Industry grew further. This quickly changed as the once-beloved taco shop was sold as a franchise operation. The changes that came with the corporate restaurant environment became difficult and frustrating for Randy. This moment marked a pivotal point in his career.
In 2015, after going out for a slice of his favorite pizza, he arrived at a closed shop. He went back several times after only to find the shop had closed for good. This sparked an idea to open up his own pizzeria. After pursuing the location to no avail, Randy was about to give up until he received the call that would put his dream into motion. His realtor had found a great location that would be ideal for My Slice of The Pie.
From the moment he opened the doors in 2016, Randy was set on the idea of wanting to differentiate himself. He wanted every person that came into his restaurant not only to leave satisfied from the pizza, but he also wanted them to go with an excellent, individualized experience that would keep them coming back for more. He wanted My Slice of The Pie to be the neighborhood pizzeria joint that patrons would keep coming back to for the quality and service.
In its four years of operation, My Slice of The Pie has found great success. The start of 2020 was gearing up to be another great year. As March rolled around, COVID-19 presented other plans for Randy. As the Governor mandated shutdowns of restaurants, Randy was forced to shut his doors for the first time since opening. It was devastating to him seeing everything he worked so hard to come to a screeching halt as a business owner.
As measures began to ease up, Randy started operations again, offering only delivery, as his priority was the safety of his staff and community. While this helped keep the business afloat, the business was still down 10-15% from the previous year, this toppled with the cancellation of all his catering orders was a big financial blow. Keeping his staff employed was also tricky. At the beginning of the pandemic, Randy lost two employees, making it challenging to keep up with operations.
When the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) was announced at the end of April, Randy felt conflicted about whether or not to apply. On the one hand, he felt his business was doing decent; on the other, he was apprehensive about what the future had in store. With a loss of staff and an inability to fill the positions, the business was getting harder. When news broke that big corporations were applying and receiving funds, he began to worry and decided that applying might be best for the future of My Slice of The Pie.
He immediately applied with his business bank and heard nothing back. As weeks passed, Randy was becoming disillusioned. He thought of applying for the PPP elsewhere but was sure that if his bank couldn’t help him, why would another institution. He began to lose hope. During a conversation with a close friend, the work that Prestamos was doing around the PPP came up. Randy decided that this was the sign he needed and applied for the PPP with Prestamos. Within a matter of minutes of hitting submit on his application, he received a call from Amber Cordoba, Manager of Consulting Services at Prestamos.
From the initial stages, Randy knew his experience with Prestamos was going to be different. “Amber was amazing. Regardless of when I would reach out, she was always available and communicating with me constantly. I was blown away by the level of service and commitment”, recalls Randy of his experience. Soon after applying, Randy received notification of funding. This brought a sense of relief and peace.
Receiving the PPP from Prestamos allowed Randy to keep his staff without cutting hours or pay. It also made him feel more secure from a financial standpoint as the business had declined 40% in June. Randy feels grateful to have come in contact with Prestamos and Chicanos Por La Cause (CPLC), as he believes they are a great community organization that is doing the right work for the right reasons. His experience with Prestamos had a tremendous personal impact on Randy, so much so that he reached out to the Creighton School District and offered to feed all the incoming teachers on their return to school. He felt that he also wanted to give back to the community that had given him so much.
Randy is a true believer that if you are in the people business, you need to treat people how you want to be treated, with respect. This is the exact service he received from Amber and Prestamos. Looking forward to the future, Randy is hopeful that things will continue to improve and look up for him and his pizzeria. With the help he received from his community and Prestamos, he is ready to tackle the pandemic challenges.
Prestamos CDFI is a part of Chicanos por la Causa, a non-profit organization that provides communities with resources ranging from health, education, financial services, housing, and advocacy. Prestamos continues its efforts to advance our work to provide high-quality financial products and services for small businesses that lead to impactful economic development projects. We invite you to visit our website to find out how you can be part of this impact.